The European Union, a peace project
Europe is not a recent construction. It has existed for centuries, as a continent but also as a community, with a shared historical and cultural heritage. And yet, in 1950, Robert Schuman declared “A united Europe was not achieved, and we had war”. Indeed, Europe had just been devastated by the Second World War and experienced its worst trauma, barely 20 years after a war so atrocious that European nations swore it would be their last. So as not to mince words, the heads of state of Western Europe understood this time that the construction of a political Europe was the condition for lasting peace.
The European project is therefore first and foremost a peace project. From the creation of the ECSC in 1950, bringing together countries that were at war with each other five years earlier, to the Europe of 27 that our nations form today, we have come a long way.
The duty of young people in maintaining this peace
Yet, while it is true that within the borders of the EU, peace has been established between nations, European states have repeatedly been at war with other regions of the world (Syria, Mali, Afghanistan, etc.) for the past 20 years.
Far from fantasizing about a global and fulfilled peace, European youth, although aware of the limits of the EU, nevertheless places its trust and hopes in it. Young European people are conscious of the task that lies ahead of it: to work, through solidarity, exchanges and the duty of remembrance, towards a long-lasting peace.
MIJARC Europe focuses its work on young people in rural areas and agriculture and by this establishes a link between young people from all over Europe to serve this objective.
After the World War II Catholic Rural Youth Movements felt the necessity to get in contact with rural youth coming from other countries and to build up an international understanding. Building up a world with social and economic justice was one reason why the movements of Flanders – Wallonia (Belgium), France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland and Austria came together and established an international Catholic movement for rural and agricultural youth during the 50’s.
MIJARC Europe’s action helps European young people to bound
On this Europe Day, the day after the 8 May commemorations marking the end of the Second World War, it is important to also reflect on our roots and the reasons why networks like MIJARC were created. We should never forget to keep up this essential part of our work, to bring people from different countries together and raise our voices against injustice and to be part of the European peace project.
We are writing these words when only 5 days ago we were all gathered online for a giant skype, playing and laughing together from our houses. Even isolated as we are these days, the bonds we have built up between us do not come apart and break down the walls of our homes and the borders of our countries.